Small Batch Granola

One of my favorite snacks of all time is granola. When I saw this recipe for Small Batch Honey-Pistachio Granola on my dear friend, Kelley’s blog, Mountain Mama Cooks, I had to make it. My kids and I loved it, and we have made it so many times that we know it by heart. I decided to change up her recipe just slightly to make this Small Batch Granola for some last minute holiday food gifts. I substituted pecans and almonds for her pistachios, but both versions are spectacularly simple. I found these super cute Christmas tree shaped jars at Walmart, and I had made budget friendly food gifts with ease. I gave one of these to my friends yesterday, and she called to tell me it was already gone. She asked for the recipe. Well, here it is….

Flourless Chocolate Cookies

A friend recently passed me this recipe for Flourless Chocolate Cookies, and she told me to try them. I am always willing to try any new flourless or gluten free recipe, especially when it comes to dessert.  She was absolutely correct when she said they were simple as can be. If you’re on a gluten-free diet or trying to watch your flour intake, these are perfect for you. Feel free to double the recipe because they go really fast. Just be sure to store them in a cool, dry place. These cookies would also be wonderful served on Passover so stash this one away for next spring.

Passover Granola Recipe

When my friend, Amy, told me about her Passover Granola recipe, I was very intrigued. I had never heard of granola for Passover before, and I thought, “what a novel idea.” She sent the recipe to me, and I tweaked a few things, cutting down the oil and butter and adding the dried fruit bits and pecans. I was so thrilled by the results because it is truly hard to find Passover snacks and dessert ideas. Serve this Passover Granola on its own, sprinkled on top of nonfat Greek yogurt or topped with almond milk.

Easy Trail Mix Recipe

It was great to have a Leap day last week for Leap year. It was like having an extra day (although I worked), but I was so excited to be a part of the “Delightful Discoveries for Leap Year Campaign” for Quaker. I had the chance to giveaway a $75 Visa gift card to a great blogger, Marnely Rodriguez, who won it from my blog a week ago. For my Leap Day discovery, I used my time to create a new Easy Trail Mix Recipe with the new Honey Nut Oatmeal Squares from Quaker. This is a wonderful Easy Trail Mix to eat for a great afternoon snack for the kids and adults. It also makes a great topping to stir in nonfat Greek yogurt, and it’s perfect to make to take on trips (I think I’ll be making some before spring break). My kids and neighbors went wild over it, and before I could get my hands on it, it was all gone.

Leap Year Discoveries and $75 Visa Giftcard Giveaway

It’s so cool that this year is a Leap Year. It’s like we have an extra day on the calendar (I know I could use one :)). I am so excited to partner with Quaker on their “Leap Day Delightful Discovery Campaign” and to be able to introduce their new flavor variety of Quaker Oatmeal Squares, Honey Nut Quaker Oatmeal Squares. In honor of Leap Year and this fun campaign, I have an awesome giveaway. One winner will win a $75 Visa gift card to put towards something new for you in celebration of an extra day this year as well as the full product line of Quaker Oatmeal Squares. To enter, do as many of the following and leave a comment letting me know you did. Winner will be drawn on Sunday, February 19th at 2 p.m CST.

1. Leave me a comment telling me what you would like to discover with an extra day on the calendar year.  Is it a hobby? recipe? more quality time with friends or “me time”?

2. Join the Quaker Oatmeal Squares Facebook page. Those who join the page will also receive a free sample of the new Honey Nut Variety of Oatmeal Squares to try for themselves.

3. Join Ingredients, Inc. Facebook page

4. Follow Alison Lewis on Twitter 

5. Follow Quaker on twitter

6. Follow Alison Lewis on Pinterest

7. Subscribe to Ingredients Inc by email

This post is sponsored by Quaker, but all opinions of this post are my own.

Valentine’s Day Trail Mix

Valentines is almost here, and I thought I would share my latest healthy idea of what you can snack on at home, in the office or at your kids’ class parties. This Valentine Trail Mix is filled with healthy nuts, yogurt covered pretzels and raisins. Feel free to add your favorite nuts and dried fruits. Top it off with a small amount of regular or peanut M & M’s, and you’ll have a winning Valentine’s Day treat that is fairly healthy too.

Heart-Smart Snack: No-Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars

For those who know me well, you know that eating healthy and staying active is extremely important to me. I have been a runner since I was 16 and in love with anything related to health and nutrition since college. Over the past 20 years, my dad has had three heart attacks and open-heart surgeries, which has made me even more conscious of keeping my family fit and heart-healthy.

As you know, I’ve been working with CanolaInfo on its World Heart Day campaign and have learned a lot! For example, cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease, stroke and diseases of the blood vessels, is the number one cause of death worldwide, accounting for more than 17 million lost lives every year. In the U.S. alone, more than 81 million people (37 percent of the population) have CVD, resulting in nearly 850,000 deaths a year. Research has also shown that obese children are at a high risk for being obese as adults, which is a risk factor for CVD. There is good news though – with healthy diet and exercise, CVD can be prevented up to 80 percent of the time!

I’ve tried to teach my three children (10, 12 and 14) the importance of a healthy lifestyle through examples I’ve set and it seems to be working! As a family, we like to ride bikes, take walks, play tennis – anything active that we can do together. I also urge them to join team sports every season and we discuss the importance of making healthy food choices. I include them in meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking. I am always proud, impressed and grateful when I see them making wise decisions with healthy snacks and other foods. But kids are also, well kids, so I try to make heart-healthy foods fun like these No Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars I developed for CanolaInfo’s “Home is Where the Heart is” Recipe Collection.

These easy and tasty granola bars are perfect for breakfast, a lunchbox dessert or afternoon snack. For more great kid-friendly recipes and information on living a heart-smart lifestyle, visit Canolainfo.org.

Favorite Back to School Snack: Healthy Trail Mix

School starts in one week so I (and we) are trying to brace ourselves or get fired up (depends which way I look at it). I have been thinking about healthy snacks since my daughter, Leigh, takes her lunch every day and goes to cheerleading straight from school. Also, my two boys, Alec and Zachary, are ravenous when they get home from school, and this recipe really fills them up. This trail mix is a cinch. I call it a “dump and stir”. It has a got a great variety of ingredients with protein, fiber and carbohydrates. They love eating it plain, adding milk to it or even stirring it into Greek yogurt. The only problem is: I have to control myself. Once I start eating it, I cannot stop.

Mini Banana Bread Loaves with Flaxseed

This recipe for Mini Banana Bread Loaf has to be one of my all time favorites for so many reasons. First, it’s an awesome recipe and makes moist flavorful bread perfect for breakfast or a snack. It is also so healthy because it is made with nonfat Greek yogurt and ground flaxseed. I am a huge fan of using nonfat Greek yogurt because it has no fat, very few carbohydrates and is high in protein. Flaxseed is often called the “most powerful” plant food there is. It’s linked to so many benefits including reducing cholesterol, menopausal symptoms, constipation and arthritis. It also aids in protection against cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Lastly, you don’t even need a mixer so cleanup is a snap. When I taught the Kid’s Cooking Class a week ago in Park City, this recipe was a huge hit!

Hot Artichoke Dip with Black Eyed Peas

Artichoke Dip is just about everyone’s favorite appetizer recipe, and I am always looking for ways to turn and twist it to make it different. This Black-Eyed Pea-Artichoke Dip combines artichokes, bacon, black eyed peas, Greek yogurt, reduced-fat mayonnaise and mozzarella cheese to create a warm dip that’s perfect for this time of year. I served this on New Year’s Day, and I thought it would be a perfect addition to anyone’s list to serve on Super Bowl sunday.